Adventure… STAT!

I want to go somewhere. Somewhere beautiful. And I want to go there now!

Like HERE: (And click the pic to see lots of gorgeous places)

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Maybe this is a result of Spring Break being about this time of year… at least, for all those lucky people still in school and/or working for a school. However, in “real life” as they say, there is no Spring Break for the rest of us. We just keep working and working… barely acknowledging except in snippets of small talk how the weather is changing, and how we’d all rather be outside, etc. (It’s really unkind of the system, don’t you think? I mean, we get 2 weeks off at Christmas, one for Spring Break, 3 MONTHS basically in the summer, and even a few other days off throughout the year for about the first 20 years of our existence, give or take, and then all of a sudden, we are limited to 2 weeks of vacation the rest of our lives??? Does anyone else see the ridiculousness of this?)

Maybe it’s also because we woke to rain showering down this morning. I mean, in the moment I wasn’t exactly rocking back and forth, wide-eyed and ready to leap out of bed, but there’s something about rainy days that makes me positively ache for adventure. Especially at this time of year; it’s like the earth is- like me- longing for newness. It’s aching to burst into color, finally resurrecting, light and weightless after the long sleep under the heavy blanket of winter.

I’m aching for color, too! My family used to always travel down to Ft. Myers, Florida to visit my grandma either over Christmas, Spring Break, and some times both. When I was little, for some reason I was never that excited by this, because I knew it’d be hot and I hated hot weather. (Ok, I don’t strictly love it now… thus my disdain for August.) But as I got older, it revived me more and more, and I grew to love our traditional haunts- the very authentic Greek restaurant by the beach, the actual beach, Blackhawk Coffee Shop at Bell Tower Mall (with their Double Trouble Milkshake topped with the thickest, most delightful whipped cream you’ve EVER tasted), and even Grandma’s little kitchen table- the weird one with the glass top and the little TV, which often sounded with the Today Show in the morning… I’d even go jogging with Mom fairly frequently in those mega-humid days! (Which was definitely not the most fun part of the vacation, but jogging in sunny Florida is better than jogging in the gray midwest… plus I was with Mom which made it more fun, too.)

So, maybe I got used to this splash of beauty in the middle of winter, which was the shot in the arm I clung to in order to make it to spring… And now I don’t have that. At least, not in this phase of life. Don’t get me wrong- I’m SO thankful for all the beauty the fills up my days, but I just think the rollicking torrents of rain shook me awake this morning and made me yearn for adventure. And I found myself, as Ryan zipped up his jacket over his sweater vest, button down, and khakis for work, wanting to shout, “Don’t go to work! Let’s go to the zoo! And Starbucks! And maybe vacation!” or at least let’s stay home in our pj’s and look at pictures of beautiful places and watch one of the many TV shows we like that takes place in California or somewhere like that at least…

Of course, I can’t be too swashbuckling, considering I’m about to have this baby any day now-

Exhibit A- 39 weeks!
Exhibit A- 39 weeks!

– and even getting up and down hurts (courtesy both of Lucy exacerbating my low back issue, and then the evil icey sidewalk I fell on a couple Sundays ago- that’s another story… there was much sobbing and hyperventilating, but I’m fine, baby is fine, Ryan was freaked out but fine, doctor said all is fine… I’m just also bruised now on that part of my back that already hurt. What can I say? It takes talent, folks…). But as I stumbled upon Tsh Oxenreider’s blog (as well as her name… Yowza!) recently, my desire to go- somewhere- was fanned into flame even more, probably because she is a traveler/writer/reader/blogger and her blog is beautiful and colorful and you can read about her travels.

Here it is! You should check it out!

Tsh Oxenreider

So. What shall I do today? Probably work, and work hard, because I need to continue the momentum in my business before Lucy comes- and that’s ok! I’m excited to see what happens from the seeds I’m sowing! Sometimes you have to be patient, and you can’t go to Florida or the zoo or even Starbucks right now, because you’re working to create the life of adventure you want in the long run. There is beauty in that- and there’s even adventure in it, too! I will probably just need to reread this post every so often to remind myself of that, when a windy, rainy day gets me all riled up. Sometimes I feel like Frodo and Sam in the second half of The Two Towers, traveling through the grayest, most desolate, February-ish place in any world, real or fictitious, with rocks and bogs and Gollum the only company available. Don’t you? (And incidentally, WHY did Tolkien publish it like that? I know I can’t really say anything bad about Tolkien, but I always thought The Two Towers should’ve been broken up like the movie- alternating between the awesomeness of Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas’s exciting search for Merry and Pippin and the dismal, depressing, monotonous journey of Frodo and Sam through Mordor… I mean, Tolkien describes every pebble in detail, and that’s exhausting, because Mordor is made up of almost EXCLUSIVELY all pebbles and/or rocks!!!) But anyway- spring is coming, people!  *Side note: do you prefer gray or grey? I can’t decide which one… I hate it when words and/or grammar rules are ambiguous!

I will at least be listening to the music I’ve grown up associating with adventure. Here is some of it for you! If all you have is small talk with other coworkers bemoaning the need to stay in your gray/grey cubicle, I understand, and maybe by listening to some of this, you’ll feel like you’ve been somewhere today…

And… because I mentioned swashbuckling…

Snowmageddon… and Astonishing Beauty

((Full disclosure, I wrote this post a couple weeks ago after a particularly heavy snow… But before it turns to spring, I had to share!))

Admittedly, I live in the midwest. We don’t actually get that much snow. But lately, our town has felt akin to the tundras of Siberia, and certainly the way the news and weather anchors talk, you’d think we were in Siberia… Or at least that this was the first winter ever to freeze the earth! ((Seriously, they talk as though winter was a surprise this year.))

However, it has snowed a lot- enough to shut lots of schools and offices down (though not my husband’s to my dismay… though it’s probably good, because when he’s home I just want to hang out with him!). And though it’s been inconvenient in many ways, it’s provided some good reminders for me.

For one, there’s this incredible man, Simon, who walks through snow (and sand and probably other things) creating beautiful masterpieces- giant earth doodles as it were, that are so precise and immaculate that they look like a graphic designer created them and someone photoshopped them onto these landscapes… Here’s what I’m talking about. And below is just one such masterpiece.

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The article linked to this post describes his creations as “mesmerizing,” and I have to agree. Perhaps the most impactful part of this man’s work is that it often disappears by the next day! Whether it’s blown away, or the ocean washes his sandy designs back into smooth beach, the design is gone. Now, obviously there are photos to document the amazingness, but I’m fairly confident we who encounter these stories through buzzfeed and the like lose a lot of the impact of seeing one of these (these… what to call them???) in person.

So, why even make them? The man often must walk miles to finish just one, and then… it’s gone? Ann Voskamp (yes, I’m talking about her again) makes a great point in her blog on February 5th’s post about this whole having to make a new masterpiece every day.

New snow every day? It’s just new-fallen grace from heaven. And we get new grace every day! Praise the Lord for that. Counting God’s grace gifts daily helps us walk- each gift moves us forward, closer to Him, so we can really see- really receive His love. I know this from personal experience.

What counting gifts does is just like what Simon does- we take the next step, walking for miles, feeling often times like the wandering Israelites in the wilderness, unable to see from our earthbound eyes the heavenly perspective. Every step we take in faith God turns into beauty- He makes it a masterpiece, using even the most broken pieces of us. And our attention spans are so short, we get to learn and re-learn this truth every day… His grace is sufficient for us- it sustains us.

Just like manna. The wandering, usually grumbling Israelites were always given manna in the desert ( manna which means something like, “what is it?” Gotta love that they called it that). But they were only given enough for one day, and if they tried to keep extra, it went bad by the next day. This way, they had to trust God and lean completely on Him for provision.

What I love about God is how He crafts our story- which is really His story- so beautifully. He doesn’t just provide the bare minimum, He goes above and beyond. For me at least, counting the gifts He gives is a peeling back of the veil of the world so I can see a little bit into heaven, a little into the heart of God and His love for me.

We need astonishing beauty like Simon’s art. And we need it every day, whether it’s a simple gift, or an intricate, miles-wide design in the snow. God knows this, because He made us in His image, and God is the originator of beauty.

So, today, I’m going to venture out, because the sun is shining and it’s been 24 hours since the last snow (and because my husband will now trust me to drive after the good scraping and salting the roads have had by now). And I’m going to celebrate the graces given today. For one, going to Cavu coffee is, I think, necessary. And I will set the truth in my heart, remembering that God is using today to build something beautiful in my life, and in yours.

So SO Prego

So, if you don’t know, I’m SO pregnant right now.

By so pregnant, I mean 38 weeks and one day…ish. Yep, the third trimester is in full swing, and I am definitely feeling it. Lucy is due (supposedly) on March 23rd, but I’m wondering if we’ll make it that long! 13 more days… I know, I know- probably I’m just being a baby (which is usually the case) and this is how every pregnant woman feels at this point in her pregnancy.

However, the busy squirminess of this baby girl in my belly has shifted from, “Oh! She’s moving! So precious!” to “Oh crap! She’s moving again! Please please don’t kick anything important in there…” or another variation, “Please don’t push with all your baby might against Mommy’s tummy!” ((Seriously, the outside part of my belly is sore from how much Lucy sticks what I think is her butt up and out as hard as she can.))

This pic is actually from Feb 19th, so technically I was 8 months along here… DEFINITELY bigger now.

8 months

And the fatigue has also returned with a vengeance. Now, don’t get me wrong- I can’t complain in the least about my pregnancy; I’ve kinda loved it actually! And even when I’m massively uncomfortable because she’s lodged some little part of herself into one of my organs, I still kind of love it. Feeling how strong she is already amazes me.

I talked to one of my mentors about why I’ve been so tired, and her thoughts were that I probably need to a) drink more water and/or b) exercise. (Let me specify- by exercise she meant walking 20 minutes or so 3 times a week… nothing strenuous, people!) And I’m pretty sure she was right. I’m so blessed to work from home, so I can literally put my feet up all day if needed! (Or if it’s snowmageddon outside.) But I’ve noticed that the fatigue feels comparable to that of post-Thanksgiving meal food coma where you must take a nap or you’ll die kind of thing. Or- the wolf from Disney’s The Sword and the Stone an even better example of how I feel:

But I’m still trying to savor this time, because this is the only time I’ll have her this close to me as she is now. Is that weird? Well, regardless, that’s my goal. All part of my bigger goal to live joyful and enjoy the journey this year!

There is so much beauty in this time of our lives! Being with my husband is so wonderful, and even though we’re kind of 2.5 people right now (2.8?), I recognize this is probably the last 13 (or however many…) days of our life when we’ll be able to spend a Saturday on the couch watching a bazillion episodes of Chuck on Netflix. At least, until all our children are grown… (Probably a good thing, actually.)

But Lucy, we are SO ready for you to be here, little girl! (“Ready” being a term I use very loosely.)

We had another fabulous baby shower on Friday night, with some family and friends who were unable to come to the other one thrown by ladies from the church I grew up in. It was wonderful! Here is one picture of some lovely ladies and their lovely babies who came!! (I don’t have more pics yet… Other people were in charge of taking those.)

Beautiful Ladies, Beautiful Babies

 

It’s a bit blurry, but there you go. This is such a wonderful progression of pregnancy, by the way, with Jennifer on the right holding her beautiful, pixie of a 2-month old named Bianca, then Bailey on the far left, whose little 3-week old I’m holding- baby Ewan, then me- MegaPreg obviously- and lastly my friend, Megan to the left of me, whose baby girl is due in July! It’s just kind of awesome…

Anyway, we’ve been so blessed by all the generosity of our friends and family, as well as by the Lord and His providence! We are training ourselves to trust in Him as Lucy’s arrival draws closer and closer! I just can’t believe she’s had 3 baby showers… the child is already spoiled! And has quite a fab collection of shoes…